Since its debut in 2020, Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever has grown a steady set of fans, soaring ratings, and increased interest in the life and antics of one Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan). The show’s much-anticipated fourth and final season has now arrived, thankfully hitting all the right emotional notes and moments of laughter to draw the curtain on the beloved teen comedy.
Season 3 concluded with Devi knocking on the door of enemy-turned-lover-turned-friend Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison), holding a note he once handed her as a farce in disguise, which offers “one free boink.”(opens in a new tab) There wasn’t much doubt, right then, that Devi was about to lose her virginity to Ben. But the first episode of Season 4 opens with the two of them in bed, wide-eyed and awkward.
Best friends take on senior year.
From that moment, events move seamlessly as the show sweeps viewers back into the wild ride of being a student at Sherman Oaks High. It’s the start of senior year, which means Devi and her high-achieving best friends Eleanor Wong (Ramona Young) and Fabiola Torres (Lee Rodriguez) are getting ready to start the rest of their lives. The anxieties and prospects of applying to university (and in Eleanor’s case, “acting conservatories”) underscores much of this season.
For Devi, her dream of going to Princeton has never been more pertinent. She prays to the Hindu gods for this dream to come true, as she did in Season 1, episode 1, in a notable scene with some far more risqué goals. But amid her pending college aspirations, Devi has other things to deal with at school. Ben has a new girlfriend, Margot (Victoria Moroles); new student Ethan (a fun new addition played by Love, Victor‘s Michael Cimino) captures the attention of both Devi and Eleanor. Then there’s Paxton (Darren Barnet), whose return to his old school on the teaching side of things after college isn’t what he thought it would be.
Michael Cimino joins the cast this season.
Never Have I Ever allows its characters to find growth, experience change, and make necessary adjustments as life goes on. There are fewer moments of intense drama this season, with the plot instead focusing on preparing the characters for their future. Paxton, for example, faces a new challenge as a member of faculty rather than the popular jock he once was. Gigi Hadid returns as narrator for a special Paxton-centric episode, which is strong in tying up loose ends in his storyline and pushing the character to mature.
Devi and Paxton have some unfinished business.
John McEnroe continues his wonderful narration of the rest of the episodes, supporting the arc of the show, and finishing up his longstanding part in Devi’s story. There’s a lot going on, between college admissions (which result in several extremely questionable choices on Devi’s part) and changes at home. The women of the Vishwakumar family have always been a staunch focus and a subsequent strength of the show.
This time around, Devi’s grandmother Pati (Ranjita Chakravarty) has a new love interest, Len (Jeff Garlin). This plotline appears unnecessary at times, and merely a vehicle to wrap up other plots. Kamala’s (Richa Moorjani) suspicion of Len makes up much of her storyline this season, which is a shame as there is much more to explore of her character. Nonetheless, Moorjani’s comic timing and natural delivery is appreciated. The same goes for Devi’s mother, Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan) who also has a new romantic prospect, and Jagannathan brings depth to her storyline beyond what is offered on the surface.
The Vishwakumar women.
With each new premise and adventure, the cast remains stellar. Their distinctive personalities have developed. The chemistry between each pairing hasn’t dwindled, whether it’s between the trio of girls, Devi and Paxton, or Eleanor and Trent (Benjamin Norris, who thankfully gets enough screen time once again). There are also plenty of scenes bringing unexpected characters together for adorable results (Ben and Trent, Paxton and Pati, to name a few). Devi and Ben’s relationship goes through yet another rollercoaster. The question of whether the two will end up together is the basis of the season, which is at times frustrating, at times hilarious, and — at many moments — just extremely cute. The connection between Ramakrishnan and Lewison is undeniable, and one of the strongest aspects of the season.
Never Have I Ever has been wonderfully consistent: Every season delivers the blend of humor, sentimentality, and teenage angst that attracted viewers in the first place. Season 4 is no different, perhaps even veering towards the clichéd. The show broke bounds when it first released, with its depiction of a South Asian girl who was complicated and bold; who grapples with the loss of her father; who goes to therapy; who wants a boyfriend and to go to parties; who loves and fights with her family; who has serious goals for her future. The episodes touched upon so many contemporary issues, relatable to not only teenagers but also to mothers, immigrants, LGBTQ teens, and young women in STEM (to name a few). At times, the episodes struggled with pacing, but again, not one of the seasons has truly let viewers down. And, alongside the representation it offered, there was emotional depth, plenty of entertainment, and a universality to the stories told.
It’s no surprise that this is a bittersweet goodbye for fans. But Season 4 stands out as a stellar conclusion. With just 10 episodes to wrap things up, there was a serious chance some characters and plotlines wouldn’t be resolved. The creators manage to carry out a largely satisfying ending, mirroring that of a romantic comedy or even a Bollywood movie. There’s suspense and sweetness, there’s acceptance, there’s changes. There’s an adorable wedding, a surprise dance performance, finally an actual game of “Never Have I Ever,” and new and old romantic link-ups. Finally, there’s a glimpse into each beloved character’s future. The ending is hopeful, even if much is expected, and a true joy to watch. The Sherman Oaks gang will be missed, and this season proves just why.